Sunday, January 13, 2008

Payback-Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson
Multnomah, Feb 2008, $12.99
ISBN: 9781590529348

The Portland, Oregon police especially Detective Ebony Hamilton take seriously any visions that high school student Samantha McGregor has as the teen has helped on recent cases (see BAD CONNECTION, PLAYING WITH FIRE and BEYOND REACH). Ebony, who was her late dad’s partner, and Sam believe her visions are a gift from God to help people.

However, recently she has had three seemingly separate sets of visions. The first involves her mother’s new boyfriend Steven, whom Sam does not like; the second entails a terrorist act at a gala that she thinks is a prom; the other line of visions is the bullying of a teem by his peers. Sam talks with Ebony about all three. The cops and Sam attend local proms hoping to avoid a disaster. Meanwhile her mom complains about missing money from her accounts while Steven apparently has vanished. The three sets of visions will soon become clear hopefully not too late; as Sam requires the patience of Job with the understanding that faith in God even when she does not comprehend why the Lord does what he does is the key to life.

The fourth Secret Life of Samantha McGregor is an entertaining inspirational paranormal crime caper. Readers will appreciate Sam’s dedication and caring as she tries to prevent harm to people as her three visions indicate. Although in real life one cannot thank the Lord too much, in a novel it becomes irritating as readers know of Sam’s strong belief and gratitude. Still, this is a fine entry with a fabulous final twist and filled with moral issues like dealing with teen bullying, identity theft, turning the other cheek, failing to save a soul, and throughout the series the belief that God’s way is the only way.

Harriet Klausner

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